I love veganism in theory and in practice, but some things just shouldn't exist. Carrots are not meant to masquerade as hot dogs, and just because something looks like an egg doesn't mean it is an egg. This is the shit omnivores like to imagine when they diss vegans, and you cant really blame them.

Faux-food bastardizations aside, I've always been hopeful about vegan cheese (AKA Gary). I invited my dairy-loving friends over for some "cheese," cracked some wine (trés necessary for these cynics), and had them taste-test 7 popular vegan cheese brands—here's what they thought.

platter, brie, milk, dairy, dairy product, grape, wine, cheese
Becky Hughes


Cashew-based cheese (it's fermented with bacteria, like real cheese) made in-house at Riverdel's Brooklyn shop—flavors include smoked lemon pepper, beer, and a cheese ball rolled in cayenne and pepitas.

Becky Hughes

"Whoa. It's weirdly creamy. It's like... it's like cheese."

"It's pretty smoky, kind of reminds me of smoked mackerel my dad used to make me eat."

"It's a bonus that they're really adorable."

Dr. Cow

Another cultured cashew cheese company based in BK. These ones came in cajun, smoked, truffle, and reishi mushroom flavors. 

dairy product, cream, candy, sweet, chocolate, milk
Becky Hughes

"Very spreadable, and dense enough to hit the spot."

"Doesn't quite have the rubbery feeling that cheese does."

"This definitely has the tanginess of cheese. I'd believe it was real if you hadn't told me."


This ultra-popular cheese empire makes these blocks made of a tapioca starch and coconut oil base. We tried the jalapeño havarti flavor and medium cheddar flavors.

Becky Hughes

"The spicy one is dope. The heat covers up the vague taste of the coconut oil."

"This has a much more rubbery, cheesy texture than the cashew versions."

"Tastes like alfredo sauce. Not complaining." 


This Portland-based company makes caramelized onion brie made with a soy-based yogurt base. 

Becky Hughes

"The best one."

"Tastes like cream cheese."

"I think it tastes more like goat cheese. Probably my favorite." 

Punk Rawk Labs

A woman-owned company in Minnesota making raw cashew cheese in nacho, herb, and smoked flavors.

Becky Hughes

"Holy shit. This passes."

"The nacho one is the best, it tastes like movie theater nachos. In the best way."

Kite Hill

Cream cheese-style cultured almond milk spread that comes in plain and chive flavors.

cream, sweet
Becky Hughes

"Yep. Yep yep yep."

"I call BS. This is straight-up cream cheese."


Go Veggie

This brand makes bars of white cheddar bacon and American cheese with a base of coconut oil.

cheddar, dairy, dairy product, milk, cheese
Becky Hughes

"Tastes like the processed cheese they hand out on airplanes."

"It doesn't mimic the elasticity of cheese very well. I'm not crazy about it. But I'm definitely gonna keep eating it."

Feeling open-minded yet? Check out more plant-based content:

A Vegan's Guide to Fast Food

These Cookbooks Will Change the Way You Think About Veganism

How Biohackers Created Real Vegan Cheese Using DNA